No small business can afford to overlook the importance of effective customer online and offline communication. Since your patrons are undeniably your most precious resource, communicating with them in a professional manner should be high atop your list of priorities. Failure to prioritize customer communication is liable to result in patron dissatisfaction, lost business and a noticeable downturn in income generation. So, if your business’s customer communication could use some fine tuning, take the following pointers to heart.
Consistently Express Appreciation
Far too many businesses fail to express proper appreciation for their customers’ patronage. When you consider that these businesses wouldn’t even exist without the goodwill and loyalty of their customers, this is particularly surprising. Furthermore, there’s no conceivable downside to showing appreciation to your patrons. Everyone loves feeling appreciated, and letting your customers know how much their business means to you can be a great way to keep them coming back. In addition, consistent gratitude on the part of your business is liable to make customers feel more personally invested in the success of your enterprise – and therefore more willing to support it well into the future.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways to express customer appreciation. To start with, make a point of ending every interaction and correspondence by thanking customers for their patronage and informing them that their business is always appreciated. You can also show appreciation by extending special offers and discounts to your most loyal customers.
Respond to Customer Communiques in a Timely Manner
No one likes to be kept waiting, especially in customer service situations. We’re living in the age of instant gratification, and businesses that take an excessively long time to respond to customer communiques often wind up losing patrons. Not only are delayed replies discourteous, they create the impression that customer concerns and queries are unimportant to your business. As previously established, customers enjoy feeling valued, and if they come to believe that they aren’t, many of them will have no qualms about taking their patronage to your competitors.
You can nip this in the bud by responding to all customer communications in a timely and professional manner. At the very least, every communique you receive in a given workday should be answered before close of business. If providing a full answer to an inquiry will require a bit of research on your part, at least make sure to inform the sender that their message has been received. Additionally, when it comes to communications received outside of normal business hours, consider using good SMS autoresponders.
Make Yourself Reachable
If there’s one thing more frustrating than waiting forever for a response from a business, it’s not being able to get in touch with that business. Needless to say, if you don’t readily provide patrons with your business’s contact info, this is practically guaranteed to create trust issues. Customers need to know that they can always reach out to your business whenever they experience problems with products or services, have grievances to report or simply need questions addressed.
With this in mind, make a point of prominently displaying your business’s contact info on your website and social media profiles. If prospective customers have all of your contact info at their disposal (and know that they won’t be kept waiting long periods for responses), they’ll be more likely to take a chance on your enterprise.
Making yourself reachable also entails employing at least one dedicated customer service representative. (Of course, depending on the size and scope of your business, you may need multiple representatives.) Having someone on staff whose entire job consists of communicating with customers will ensure that all patrons receive courteous and timely responses to their inquiries – which will provide you with more time to focus on the many other aspects of owning a business.
It behooves every business owner to make improved customer communication a priority. Given how important loyal customers are to the success of any enterprise, it’s only natural that you’d want to remain on the best possible terms with your patrons. Unsurprisingly, poor communication is synonymous with poor customer retention. Fortunately, taking your customer communication practices to the next level is much easier than some businesses make it look. In the interest of keeping your customers satisfied and ensuring that they grace you with repeat patronage, put the measures discussed above to good use.